A former candidate for the U.S. House is asking Bozeman to give up $4 million in federal funding for a parking garage so it can instead be used to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In an e-mail sent to the Bozeman City Commission, Tracy Velázquez of Bozeman said that given the scale of the disaster, she doesn't think the city can in good conscious keep the money when it is desperately needed elsewhere. "I think every city in America should look at what they can postpone or do without for now," she said in an interview Friday.
If fiscal business-as-usual was dangerous before Katrina, then in a post-Katrina world it is undeniably disastrous. Yet, no less than House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was initially in denial. In the wake of the $62.3 billion in emergency appropriations for Katrina, Mr. DeLay said that the Republican-controlled Congress had already removed the fat from the federal budget. "My answer to those who want to offset [Katrina] spending is, 'Sure, bring me the offsets,' " he said. "I will be glad to do it, but no one is able come up with any yet."
To its credit, the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) accepted Mr. DeLay's challenge. This week the RSC released a detailed 23-page report identifying and explaining a menu of more than 100 specific budget offsets that total nearly $1 trillion over 10 years, including $102 billion for 2006 and nearly $400 billion over the first five years. . . . Back to you, Mr. Delay.
Indeed. And, of course, we'll soon be seeing Rita relief, too. The evacuation seems to be better-handled this time around, but the property damage will nonethless be enormous.